How to Achieve Sustainable Office Print

More than ever, we’re learning the value of operating a business in accordance with environmentally friendly practises. Not only are green workplace strategies beneficial to the environment, but they also help to reduce printing costs and increase workplace efficiencies. It’s a complete and utter win in our shared challenge of combatting climate change.

Act fast, Act now!

When it comes to improving the efficiency of office print, your business must involve your users in the process. That is why we recommend introducing the many steps in stages rather than all at once.

Which manufacturers lead in sustainable print?

First and foremost, while many printer manufacturers have significantly increased their efforts to create more environmentally friendly workplaces, it’s the Xerox brand which has continued to set the global standard. For this reason, as the original Xerox Platinum Partner in the United Kingdom, we’ll be concentrating our efforts primarily on their efforts.

How to Achieve Sustainable Office Print

At the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Xerox who were awarded the inaugural Terra Carta Award by HR The Prince of Wales for their continued efforts to protect the environment. At that prestigious event, with its thousands of delegates and their support staff, the the multifunction printers were provided by Xerox and backed up by global leader in print management software, PaperCut, whose technology we also distribute.

If you’ve spent 15 seconds reading this article so far, you might be amazed to know that 199 tons of paper has been produced in that time!

How much paper are you sending to landfill?

Assuming you’ve spent 15 seconds reading this article so far, you’d probably be amazed to consider that 199 tons of paper has been produced in that time, based on global production. According to Planet Ark (Australia), there are some other incredible statistics:

  • 324 litres of water is used to make 1 Kg of paper,
  • 10 litres of water is needed to make one piece of A4 paper,
  • 93% of paper comes from trees,
  • 50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper,
  • To print a Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees,
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees,
  • Packaging makes up 1/3 or more of our trash,
  • Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste,
  • Lessening of paper usage was predicted due to the electronic revolution. It didn’t happen. In fact demand for paper is expected to double before 2030,
  • Every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe.

Office sustainability: where do you start?

You’d like to reduce the carbon footprint of your company, but aside from the obvious such as using LED lights and limiting or changing your mode of travel, what can you do easily? The most popular piece of advice is to ditch paper altogether but that’s not altogether practical advice.

Why not begin with the print process itself? It’s practical, and it’s something which stimulates employee engagement while being highly cost-effective. With only modest consideration companies can enable multiple, simple, changes can be made to reduce environmental impact and bring you one step closer to achieving a truly environmentally friendly office.

How to improve print efficiency?

When it comes to improving the efficiency of office print, your business must involve your users in the process. That is why we recommend introducing the many steps in stages rather than all at once.

Your biggest change will come from installing PaperCut MF or PaperCut NG software and configuring it in its passive mode. This gives you instant visibility as to the activities of your printing environment without your users even realising what’s going on.

Over time, you will want to invest in a more sophisticated print management system which has the capabilities to mange every printer actively. However, the core functionality of the basic PaperCut software brings affordable innovation with the features you need to measure the usage of every printer on your network.

Use Find-me / Follow-me printing

There’s no doubt that introducing Find-Me printing, also described by some vendors as follow-me printing, is a fool-proof method of reducing waste at the printer while simultaneously improving your information security. Walk up to any multi function device and doubtless the automatic document feeder or output trays will have documents destined only for the recycling bin. The advantage of controlling this is clear.

How to Achieve Sustainable Office Print

With some industry estimates citing that 45% of print jobs are left uncollected at the printer; you can imagine the immediate savings of consumables, as well as on waste headed to the recycling bins. You do have recycling bins, don’t you?

It is possible that you will need to guide your users with some gentle nudges in the first instance when it comes to double-sided and black and white printing policies, but it’s print management software which can force users to have to make a conscious decision to submit their job as single-sided, or in colour.

Active printer management

Over time, you will find a more direct approach to managing your policies is required. Active printer management deliver desired outcomes across your printer fleet. For example, you could have some users’ jobs automatically converted to double-sided printing or direct their documents to the devices which offer the lowest energy consumption.

Actively reduce your printing costs

We are committed to providing our users with a significant improvement in the way they manage their printing. Waste reduction should be a top priority, without a doubt.

One of the driving forces behind the development of print management solutions is the desire to assist businesses in reducing costs without having to compromise their operations. Research has shown that software solutions from Xerox, Kofax, PaperCut, UniPrint and PrinterLogic can cut your costs by as much as 40%.

It all starts with complete transparency, so you can see who’s printing, what and when. Then create your own printing policies, such as promoting double-sided printing, and implement sensible printing policies. As time goes on, you’ll develop your own custom scripts as well.

By creating printer-based user accounts, you’re able to keep track of costs. This will allow you to see who is consuming the printing budget. Add quotas, assign user balances, or implement a payment system within the organisation. It’s surprisingly effective!

Redesign your office philosophy

Change your office’s approach to being environmentally conscious: Green initiatives are wonderful but rarely successful. Researchers have discovered that an individual can be a true tree hugger at home while simultaneously being Mother Earth’s worst enemy at work. There are a variety of reasons for this, including a lack of financial repercussions and a lack of personal responsibility.

Explore a Managed Print Service (MPS)

A combination of modern technologies, the correct framework for a managed print service (MPS), plus the optimum network and device support, combine to enable companies to save enough money to fund a fleet refresh.

When the quality and reliability of office equipment increases, so too does the attitude of your desk-based staff. Users appreciate when the correct model of printer is placed at their disposal, because this gives them the ability to access the features they need quickly, and to complete their tasks without unnecessary stress.

Let’s start with three quick-win initiatives:

1.     ‘Think before you print” It’s the age-old question of whether or not you really need a paper copy of something. Is it possible to read it on a computer or tablet?

2.     Purchase thinner paper: it’s more cost effective and there are even bigger savings if you buy products in bulk. Something between 70 and 80 gsm should be sufficient and have no detrimental effect on performance, and this also enhances device availability as more pages can be accommodated in the paper trays.

3.     Recycle your toner (ink) cartridges. They’re finicky little things, but you should do everything you can to recycle (or, better yet, reuse) them as much as possible. According to a recent survey, 45 percent of people dispose of cartridges in the trash. Don’t let yourself become one of those people. Get inspiration from the Xerox Eco Box system, which provides for fully paid recycling boxes which you can request directly from the device touchscreen!

8 Top tips to manage printer waste

You’ve made a start in a few directions now, so where to from here? We’ve compiled a list of eight next steps’ who can work through to great effect:

1.     Modify your mission statement: Does your mission statement make no mention of core principles such as integrity, doing the right thing, and/or upholding social values (for example, taking care of our environment)? If this is the case, make any necessary adjustments and engage every employee so they want to a shared vision of paper and waste reduction.

2.     Set up a role or committee: Don’t annoy your employees by simply adding an environmental role to the list of responsibilities they already have. Create a joint committee or include it in the job description of someone on your team who is responsible for it. Allow them to take responsibility.

3.     Provide training – Some people are simply unaware of the extent to which their actions in the office can have an impact on the environment. Establish a schedule for regular training sessions. It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to implement. Even just 5 minutes before your monthly meeting can make a significant difference.

4.     Instruct your employees on how to use the office printers effectively. If that strikes you as obvious, then yours is one of the few organisations which invests any time in teaching people how to use the office printers (which are almost always models they’ve never used before).

6.     Challenges work! People thrive in the presence of challenges, and when there’s an environmental component plus a modest team prize for scanning more and printing less, you will bank the considerable savings.

7.     Lead by example! Management have a significant impact on the culture of the organisation. Set a good example, and demonstrate to your team that you are truly concerned about environmental issues.

8.     Invest in environmentally friendly products and invest in recycling bins, and purchasing products from environmentally certified suppliers.

What is the significance of environmentally friendly printing?

Wasn’t digital transformation supposed to end our use of paper? Yet, here we are in 2022, and the paperless office still appears to be a long way off. Printers are still an essential part of almost every office today, regardless of its size. PaperCut refer to this as the “lesspaper office” initiative, and here are some additional tips:

Toner recycling is easy with a Xerox Eco Box

Recycle your toner and other printer consumables using the Eco Box system. The Xerox and Advanced UK Eco Box approach to simplified cartridge recycling programme is one of the most effective ways the company can help the environment. You can request you Eco Box directly from the Xerox printer touch screen interface and they post it to you. The returned materials are fully recycled and it doesn’t cost you a penny!

How to Achieve Sustainable Office Print

Energy Efficiency

Make use of products that consume less energy. As a result of its commitment to designing products and devices that are becoming increasingly energy efficient, Xerox leads the way and produces printers which meet or exceed the standard set forth by Blue Angel, EPEAT, and the Energy Star Alliance.

Near-field sensors

Choose printers with near-field sensors which wake up as you approach to collect your documents. Let’s face it, printers aren’t usually busy enough, and sitting there powered on and fully ready-to-print is a waste of energy.

Print management software solutions

Explore the full range of print management software solutions, including those from PaperCut, Xerox, UniPrint, Kofax, and others. These software suites will save you money in terms of paper, energy, employee productivity, and more.

The sheer cost of printer waste

The use of paper products that aren’t necessary has a significant negative impact on the environment. Consider the fact that the average office worker goes through approximately 10,000 sheets of paper each year!

Even if your company has a robust paper recycling programme, tonnes of energy must still be expended in the form of wasted time, transportation costs, recycling programme fees, and other costs associated with paper recycling.

Educate your employees!

Employee education is one of our favourite paper reduction strategies because it is completely free. The majority of the time, employees are simply unaware of how their small actions can have a negative impact on the environment, or what small changes they can make to reduce their paper consumption.

Simple paper-saving tips that you can pass along to your team include the following:

  • Print pages on both sides of the paper or duplexed.
  • Before you hit the “Print” button, think twice. Is it really necessary to put this down on paper?
  • Whenever possible, send information to the entire company via email.
  • Documents should be reused or shared.

Advanced printer management techniques

Some excellent programmes can also help you to reduce the amount of paper you use in your office by a significant amount. PaperCut is a programme that we particularly like because it has hundreds of useful features. However, when it comes to reducing paper consumption, there are a few methods we recommend most frequently:

1.     Print Authentication

Using Two-Step Print Authentication: How many times have you sent a document to the printer only to discover that it was the incorrect document? Or that you have an urgent need to make a change? Or perhaps you simply forgot to pick it up in the first place?

This common problem can be solved by implementing a two-step authentication process. Every time an employee sends a document to the printer, the document is first sent to a queue in the cloud, where it remains until it is printed. It will remain there until the employee releases the job at the device itself using a PIN code or a card swipe, at which point it will be destroyed.

It’s also useful for office printer security because it ensures that the final document is picked up by the correct person.

2.     Notifications

When an employee decides to print a specific document, you can implement a setting in which a pop-up will remind them (or even require them) to do manually adjust specific settings if they have large documents, want to select double-sized or simplex, or simply to challenge them to consider printing in black and white rather than colour, among other things. The software can even notify the employee as the amount of money that the company will save because of the employee making this adjustment!

3.     Digitise and automate

More and more businesses are opting to go paperless these days. This is excellent for increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and ensuring long-term sustainability. By implementing document management and automation products, you can convert paper-intensive processes to digital workflows.

4. Start scanning!

Utilising scanning versus copying, helps both all companies and their customers too. Since all modern businesses have a digital printer, there’s no need to invest in additional hardware. The Xerox devices feature a huge library of business applications too, featuring services and utilities which let you staff scan to all of the major cloud repositories, translate, convert, and much more.

Office sustainability conclusions

So, there you have it. Just in respect of optimising your office printers , you can see how to save your organisation money, optimise efficiency, and do something positive for your local community too: less waste is good!

Don’t forget to record all of the initiatives you undertake and put them into your Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, so your business really does capitalise on its positive initiatives.

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